For more than 40 years Eleanor Dowe lived in the NYCHA Webster Houses caring about her neighbors. Yet, the woman who would celebrated her 67th birthday Thursday is now in a coma.
She was not in a car accident, but hurt because of negligence by NYCHA. Dowe, who lives on the 19th floor of her building, had called NYCHA for months complaining that the elevator was broken and did not stop on her floor. So, she would walk down to catch it.
But, on Jan. 2, as she headed to dialysis, she slipped on urine in the hallway, fell on her head and landed in the hospital. Her family is furious and wants NYCHA held accountable.
On Tuesday, family members, residents, friends and Councilman Fernando Cabrera rallied to demand justice.
“She believed in a system that we know does not work for anybody in this community,” said Alina Dowe, a relative of Dowe. “This is not about politics; this is about right and wrong.”
Dowe, who was quite emotional, asked why do these types of issue get fixed in Manhattan and Riverdale, but not here in the Bronx. How many times did she have to call before NYCHA would come and fix it, she exclaimed.
But, Dowe would tell her family not to worry and that NYCHA would come.
Now after Dowe is in a coma NYCHA finally repaired it.
“No more, this is not acceptable,” she shouted. “We’re not going to allow one more person to end up in the hospital.”
Barely able to hold herself together, Dowe’s daughter Annette, said a few words.
“All I need you to is pray for a miracle,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks. “She was my best friend.”
After hearing her say that Councilman Cabrera, who is also a pastor, led everyone in a prayer. Cabrera could not believe that someone who needed to get to dialysis, had to walk down a flight of stairs just to get to an elevator.
He called on the federal government to access capital funding to help NYCHA fix the numerous issues plaguing their buildings.
“This is an outrage,” he stated. “We’re talking about something that could have been fixed, that’s the part that pissed me off. We have a tragedy because the city did not do what they’re supposed to do.”
Resident Al Quattlebaum expressed his frustrations with NYCHA. Quattlebaum said he is tired of the community being mistreated and it needs to be proactive, not reactive.
He noted that in 2018 NYCHA launched an initiative saying it would make repairs in buildings efficiently, yet it failed at that.
“NYCHA you will be on notice,” he yelled. “We’re calling you out. I pledge we will not stop until there’s justice for Mrs. Dowe.”
However, a NYCHA spokesman disputes the claim that the elevator was not working.
“There are two elevators in this building at Webster Houses and both were operable on the morning of Jan. 2,” the spokesman said. “One of the elevators was not in operation for approximately one and a half hours that afternoon, while the other elevator was working and available for use.”